Practical actions for a more peaceful and just world

By Taylor O’Connor | www.everydaypeacebuilding.com

Photo by Melany Rochester on Unsplash

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress, a power than can transform the world.” — Howard Zinn

Those who work for peace and justice have an extensive array of approaches available to them. Based on my experiences during the past decade working with grassroots peacebuilders around the world, I’ve mapped hundreds of actions for peace and organized the main ones into this list of 198.

Actions are organized under five main domains: 1) a peaceful life, 2) peaceful relationships, 3) peace in spaces and places, 4) a culture of peace, and 5) peace infrastructure.

I hope this list of actions will help inspire you to take creative action for peace and justice. Download the PDF handout here: 198 Actions for Peace (PDF handout)


198 Actions for Peace

A peaceful life

Care for your personal wellbeing

Foster healthy habits

1. Keep a healthy diet

2. Be active & move regularly

3. Laugh every day

4. Embrace idle time

5. Find appropriate outlets to express yourself

6. Surround yourself with inspiration

7. Celebrate your accomplishments

8. Take walks

9. Develop a practice of gratitude

10. Get sufficient sleep

Calm your mind

11. Be in the moment

12. Live simply

13. De-clutter & green your spaces

14. Spend time in nature

15. Embrace solitude

16. Be mindful of your media consumption

17. Find/use contemplative practices that work for you

Develop your competency to build peace

Develop your emotional intelligence

18. Pay attention to what you are feeling

19. Build your emotional vocabulary

20. Observe the emotions of others

21. Recognize emotional triggers & patterns

22. Discuss feelings openly

23. Cultivate patience & practice regulating your emotions

Learn about culture, conflict & inequality

24. Learn from a different culture, perspective or worldview

25. Educate yourself about systemic injustice & inequality

26. Learn about the dynamics of conflict

27. Volunteer in support of a social justice cause

28. Critically reflect on privilege & opportunity

29. Reflect on the formation of your worldview

30. Challenge your beliefs & perceptions

Nurture your creative capacities

31. Invite music & art into your life

32. Spend time with creative people

33. Put yourself in situations where you don’t know what is going to happen

34. Develop creative routines & habits

35. Create time & space for creative endeavors

Design your life

36. Explore a range of passions & interests

37. Be intentional with how you spend your time

38. Reduce stressors

39. Check your bias

40. Clarify your priorities; set intensions & goals

41. Focus on what you want (not on what you don’t want)

42. Make decisions based on your intuition

43. Notice/seize/create opportunities

44. Find a mentor

45. Build your life around something you are passionate about

46. Embrace the process

Peaceful relationships

Foster healthy relationships with those around you

47. Be fully present for others

48. Share your time freely

49. Practice deep listening

50. Observe & appreciate the good in others

51. Support others to pursue their dreams

52. Teach children to resolve conflicts peacefully

53. Hold space for those experiencing difficult times

54. Model compassionate & empathetic behavior

55. Share opportunity with persons less privileged than yourself

56. Be a mentor

Transform conflict in relationships

57. Recognize & acknowledge the humanity of others

58. Internalize to find solutions

59. Listen with empathy & practice skillful communication

60. Find common ground

61. Find ways to address grievances

62. Focus on shared interests & needs

63. Build trust & re-imagine relationships

64. Create opportunities for forgiveness, healing & reconciliation

65. Mediate a conflict or open space for dialogue

Build community

66. Find/build a tribe who shares your passion

67. Connect with others based on shared values

68. Get to know people as individuals

69. Be attentive to the needs of community members

70. Facilitate connections amongst group members

71. Take collaborative action on issues you care about

72. Diversify your personal network

73. Build trust where there is conflict or division

74. Find allies within institutions tied to dynamics of war, violence & inequality

75. Form an unconventional coalition

76. Consider the presence & needs of victims, immigrants, refugees & other marginalized communities

77. Celebrate the accomplishments of community members

Peace in spaces and places

Create spaces

78. Create spaces to promote intercultural learning

79. Create spaces to learn about social justice history/issues

80. Create safe spaces, demilitarized zones, sanctuaries or zones of peace

81. Create sacred, quiet or shared spaces

82. Plan exchanges & exposure trips

83. Create public/shared spaces

84. Transfer property to the public domain

85. Design public/community spaces collaboratively

Revitalize spaces

86. Preserve/protect diverse culture/historic sites

87. Reclaim/recreate parks, plazas & walkways

88. Make spaces accessible, inclusive & family friendly

89. Revitalize schools & educational spaces

90. Offer/remake private spaces for public use

91. Create a community garden or green shared spaces

92. Start a mural or community art project

93. Remove monuments to heroes that represent war, empire & oppression

94. Build monuments to peace heroes

Utilize shared spaces

95. Map the natural & cultural assets of your community

96. Make a community newsletter

97. Utilize public spaces for performance, art or activism

98. Share food & culture in public spaces

99. Host public concerts, lectures, films & cultural events

100. Use online spaces for collaborative action & learning

Preserve & protect natural spaces

101. Reduce your carbon footprint

102. Preserve/protect/recover natural environments

103. Defend people harmed by environmental degradation

104. Hold parties liable for environmental destruction

105. Support local, fair trade & earth friendly business

106. Vote/advocate to phase out fossil fuels

107. Promote renewable energy sources

108. Advocate for environmental justice

109. Support ethical & sustainable travel

110. Support innovations in sustainable living

A culture of peace

Dismantle cultures of violence

Make structural & cultural violence visible

111. Break cultures of silence

112. Shine light on the legacy of historic injustice/inequality

113. Research/uncover structural & cultural violence

114. Speak truth to power

Disrupt narratives that rationalize violence

115. Discredit war propaganda & myths that justify violence

116. Demystify threats & promote an understanding that violence is not innate, war not inevitable

117. Expose motivations & deceptive tactics of hate groups, corrupt leaders & others who rationalize violence

118. Disrupt narratives that downplay gender-based violence

119. Deconstruct nationalist ideologies & politics of division

120. Combat hate speech & humanize marginalized groups

121. Challenge gendered & racialized thinking about roles, norms & behavior; deconstruct stereotypes

122. Disrupt neo-colonial mindsets

123. Speak out against misuse of religion for discriminatory purposes, especially within your own faith group

124. Employ creative ways to shame & ridicule cultural norms & behaviors that promote violence & inequality

Build a culture of peace

Promote elements of peace in culture

125. Document peace history; celebrate peace heroes (not war heroes)

126. Harmonize diversity with unity, strength & innovation

127. Promote inclusive group/national identity

128. Reframe justice & equality as issues for everyone

129. Promote the worth, dignity & rights of all persons recognizing unique challenges of marginalized groups

130. Encourage critical reflection on cultural norms, behaviors & attitudes

131. Promote community service & social responsibility

132. Promote the value of characteristics/qualities associated with all gender identity groups

Use culture to bridge divides

133. Celebrate days of peace, human rights & social justice

134. Involve cultural icons in peace actions

135. Publicize symbolic acts of unity, defiance or forgiveness

136. Join/create public prayer, meditation & vigils for peace

137. Plan events collaboratively with diverse groups

138. Honor indigenous knowledge & spiritual wisdom

139. Re-invent language; re-name something

140. Produce/use peace imagery; re-imagine symbols

141. Create rituals that promote peace & tolerance

Teach peace

142. Educate about peace heroes & history; shift the focus from histories of war & violence

143. Teach comparative history

144. Educate about social justice issues past & present

145. Teach to understand the perspective of other cultures & worldviews

146. Teach emotional intelligence

147. Promote critical media literacy

148. Link education & community development

149. Utilize participatory methods & approaches

150. Educate or develop curriculum on themes related to peace, conflict, social justice or human rights

Leverage art & media for peace

151. Use music, performance, poetry, comedy or storytelling to raise awareness of issues or imagine peaceful futures

152. Use sports to bring people in conflict together

153. Dance or craft for a cause

154. Collaborate with diverse artists or musicians

155. Promote freedom of the press & access to information

156. Amplify peace narratives, social justice issues & marginalized voices in diverse media outlets

157. Build characters & storylines that break stereotypes

158. Portray peaceful resolution of conflict in the media

Peace infrastructure

Withdraw resources from war & violence

159. Divert spending on war towards budgeting for peace, social services, arts & culture

160. Boycott or divest from companies, governments, individuals & institutions that promote/profit from war

161. Advocate against the global arms trade, excessive military spending & military aid to entities implicated in crimes

162. Disrupt structures that support war through non-violent protest, non-cooperation & non-violent intervention

163. Change supply & demand of products & services associated with conflict dynamics

164. Reduce benefits for elites in waging/continuing war or violent activities; increase incentives for peace

165. Hold leaders to account for promoting war

Reform structures & institutions

Reform structures tied to the dynamics of war & violence

166. Demilitarize defense & security

167. Promote disarmament, demobilization & reintegration

168. Use military & police for peaceful purposes

169. Demilitarize police & security personnel

Reform structures that produce inequality

170. Advocate for (or create) mechanisms for accountability & transparency; uproot corruption

171. Audit government agencies to ensure balanced delivery of services & contributions to distributive justice

172. Promote mechanisms that support equality in housing & employment; & equal access to justice

173. Confront unjust incarceration practices & mobilize for incisive criminal justice reform

174. Remove obstacles to the upward mobility & self-determination of all peoples

175. Support & protect whistleblowers

176. Transform the dynamics of international aid

Create policies that promote peace, justice & equality

177. Produce tax policies that mitigate excessive wealth & generate funds for social services

178. Produce policies that support equal pay, guarantee dignified work & ensure living wages for all jobs

179. Promote laws for equitable sharing of natural resources

180. Promote policies for equal access to quality education, health care & social services

181. Advocate for corporate social responsibility

182. Create laws that regulate the production & sale of weaponry at the domestic & international levels

183. Reform legal, foundational & policy documents

Transform leadership & decision-making

184. Support/elect leaders that promote tolerance, peace & care for marginalized populations; confront leaders who promote nuclearization & armament

185. Open communication channels between leaders, local communities & marginalized groups

186. Promote egalitarian, democratic leadership structures & decision-making practices

187. Decentralize power & decision-making

188. Ensure equitable representation & meaningful participation of marginalized groups in decision-making

189. Promote collaborative design & management of projects & activities; embed mechanisms for reflection

190. Utilize local/indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms

Build/support peace infrastructure

191. Support the creation (or existing work) of government departments dedicated to promoting peace & justice

192. Create/support a community organization, non-profit or social enterprise working on issues you care about

193. Create/support mechanisms to report, prevent or respond to violence; or an early warning mechanism

194. Create/support structures, institutions & groups that care for marginalized communities & victims of violence

195. Create/support values based programs & projects

196. Build/offer physical structures & spaces to groups working on peace & justice issues

197. Create/support mechanisms of truth & reconciliation

198. Create/join platforms, forums or networks for peace


Certainly, there are an infinite number of actions that can be taken to build peace and justice, far beyond this list of 198. What I hope to achieve with this list is to help you generate creative ideas that you can apply to effect change on issues you care about. These actions are only effective when applied in contextually appropriate ways that address relevant issues. You may use any combination of these methods. Try to take action within each domain. And stay creative.

If there are any actions that you feel are missing from this list, please write them in a comment below and I’ll consider them for a later updated list.

Download these as a PDF handout: 198 Actions for Peace (PDF handout)

 

 

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